You Otter Read this!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Did you know that southern sea otters are one of the few animals in the world that help scientists learn so much all at one time? That's because the southern otter is an Indicator Species, an Umbrella Species, and a Keystone Species. What do all these big words mean? Well, here's a quick overview:

The southern otter is an Indicator Species. This means that otters feel really small changes in their environment more so than other animals. If their environment's temperature changes just by a small amount, the southern otter may begin to move someplace that is e.... more >>

A Day to Explore
Sunday, August 10, 2008

Moss Landing, California, where our Earthwatch team is stationed, is one of seven cities in Monterey County. Here, there are trails to hike, water channels to canoe and kayak, and seemingly endless boardwalks, where one can safely walk out onto protected wetland waterways and view breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and seascapes. It is a magical place that I know you would all enjoy.

On our collective day off from studying southern otters and bottlenose dolphins, our team traveled to three of the other six cities in Monterey County: Monterey; Pacific Grove;.... more >>

Be a Rock Hound!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Hi Friends,

As I search the beaches here along Monterey Bay, I am collecting some beautiful samples of shells, driftwood, and rocks to bring back to our classroom. I am also looking for a very special rock, as I always do when I travel. I think that it would be fun for all of us to bring a summer Field Rock to school in September. Maybe you'll discover that you like rocks that are black and smooth and have white lines (called veins) through them. Whenever I find a rock like that, I save it because my sister, Star, once told me that they are good luck. Maybe .... more >>

Otter Challenges and Successes (Kids & Parents)
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Southern otters used to live in the Pacific Ocean all the way from Southern Alaska and Oregon down to Baja, CA. If you look on the map of the western United States (in the Project Location Section), you will see just how far their home used to stretch. Now their habitat is limited to the central California coast, from Point Ano Nuevo in Santa Cruz County to Purisima Point in Santa Barbara County. So the southern otters' habitat has really shrunk in size. There are many reasons for this, most of which are linked to human activities, but the good news is that, at least f.... more >>

Counting Sea Otters in Elkhorn Slough
Friday, August 1, 2008
This morning, another local ecological expert and Earthwatch collaborator, Ron Eby, took Dr. Daniela Maldini and our team on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) boat ride up Elkhorn Slough, as far inland as Kirby Point. We counted over 45 otters and noted their activities. Most of them were foraging and grooming themselves. There were also harbor seals and a huge number of birds that we had not seen earlier along the Monterey Bay coastline. Ron, who knows local and migrating birds well, identified Great Blue Herons, Cormorants, Red-Throated Loons.... more >>

Otters and 4 year-olds would be great friends
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Today, I thought about how much fun you would all have being here and having a chance to watch the otters in Moss Landing! A day in Elkhorn Slough with the otters is much like a day with my students at WPPK. Why?

Well, here are a few reasons:

  • Otters work about one third of their day and play together for two thirds of their day!
  • Otters like to be social and play with their friends
  • Otters like to feel safe and secure
  • Otters like to explore
  • Otters are very, very curious, just like that wonderful m.... more >>

You can be Field Researchers too!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
As I was thinking about our classroom in the fall, and how smart all of you are, I thought that I would share some ideas with you all about how you can all be Field Researchers this summer, so that we can learn more about our world from one other in September! Whether you are in Dallas or somewhere else, I hope that you will try a few of these ideas and let us all know what you discover by writing back on this blog, so that all of your friends can read your story. The best Field Researchers are always asking questions and searching for answers!

Okay, here we.... more >>

My First Day with Earthwatch
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Hi Again Friends!
Well, today, I met up with my Earthwatch Expedition Team in Monterey. We loaded into the Earthwatch van and headed north on Route 1 to the house we now share on Pajaro Dunes Beach. The house is a solar powered green home made from renewable materials. Daniela Maldini gave us a slide show about the California otter and then we took a tour of the beach and learned a bit about the formation of Monterey Bay, which is really two basins (north and south) separated by a canyon that runs as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona!

I am so happy th.... more >>

About to Begin Earthwatch!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Welcome back, friends!

I've arrived in California and it is beautiful! I meet my Earthwatch Expedition team tomorrow morning. I am spending a few nights in Moss Landing beforehand, and I'm having fun exploring the area. I am staying at the Captain's Inn in Moss Landing. It is an old sea Captain's house, and it is full of wonderful ocean relics. There are old rowboats, old buoys, paddles, and lanterns that fishermen used to use. There are large fishing nets, steering wheels, navigational charts and vintage board games, like Parker Brothers' 1948 Sun.... more >>

Hi Friends!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Welcome to! I created this space for you with the help of my dear friend, Marc Atwood. Marc is really good at designing and building spaces online. He's a little bit like the architect, Mr. Langford, who came to speak to us at school last year about the homes and spaces he builds. Although you can't actually live in the websites and blogs my friend, Marc, builds online, you can definitely open the doors of this internet space and look inside. I invite each of you and your families to follow me this summer as I prepare to travel to Monterey Bay, Calif.... more >>

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